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Lithgow

Celebrate the opulent era when Australia’s first tourist destination kicked up its heels for a decade-long party. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Celebrate the opulent era when Australia’s first tourist destination kicked up its heels for a decade-long party. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By Ellen Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

It’s almost time to clad your chassis (female body) in your glad rags (“going out on the town’’ clothes) for a copacetic (wonderful) time to celebrate the opulent era when Australia’s first tourist destination kicked up its heels for a decade-long party.

The Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz will be held throughout the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region from February 7 to 22, and is for any egg (person who lives the big life) who loves a shindig (party).

Dance your way into history at the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Dance your way into history at the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The festival will again kick off with the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge at the newly re-opened Hydro Majestic Hotel, conveniently opposite Medlow Bath railway station, on Saturday, February 7.

The challenge aims to break its own Guinness World Record for the greatest number of costumed people to dance the Charleston. It set the record with 276 in 2013, 319 in 2014 – let’s make it 350 in 2015. Registrations are now open via the festival website.

The celebration of decadence, architecture and jazz music will continue with a dizzying round of costumed balls and high teas, historical walks, fashion parades, outrageous dancing and jazz music.

There will be the exquisite Long Lunch with gourmet food and wine event at an exciting new venue, 1920s-themed transport rallies and film nights, garden tours, murder mysteries, radio plays, vintage sports and more.

Popular TV personality Claudia Chan Shaw will again be festival patron. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Popular TV personality Claudia Chan Shaw will again be festival patron. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Popular TV personality Claudia Chan Shaw will again be festival patron and Charlotte Smith, curator of The Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture, will be its ambassador.

Festival director Angela Corkeron said it was a great opportunity for locals and visitors to dress up and relive the era of true extravagance.

“The 1920s was a time to celebrate – the drudgery of World War I was gone, people were happy and kicked up their heels to show it.

“Everything was almost a dare: the fashion, the makeup, ladies’ traditionally long hair was cut short, skirt lengths rose so that one caught a glimpse of elegant ankles and the dancing was matched by the fabulous rise of jazz and ragtime music.’’

Definitely not for a flat tyre (dull-witted, insipid, disappointing date) or Mrs Grundy (priggish, tight-laced person), the festival is the calendar highlight for flappers (stylish, brash, hedonistic young woman with short skirts and hair), fly boys (glamorous term for aviator), owls (person who’s out late) and any Sheba (woman with sex appeal) or sheik (man with sex appeal) out to whoopee (have a good time).

The festival celebrates the elegance and style of the 1920s era. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The festival celebrates the elegance and style of the 1920s era. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism chairman Daniel Myles said: “The Roaring 20s Festival has brought the chutzpah back to the original hedonistic holiday destination and given people yet another reason to visit.

“The grand hotels of the era – the Carrington, Mountain Heritage and now the Hydro Majestic – have, one by one, been restored back to their glorious heyday and are now overflowing with the wonderful characters they were made for.

“Then there’s the Glamour & Gowns Ball at Lithgow’s Civic Ballroom, which was spectacularly decked out last year, and everyone can experience the age of steam and industry at the Highlands Steam & Vintage Fair at Oberon.’’

Events will be held throughout the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Events will be held throughout the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

So get a wiggle on, don a swanky outfit and shake your gams (a woman’s legs) for a hotsy totsy (pleasing), nifty (great) time of sumptuous architecture, costume balls and high teas, saucy clothing, outrageous (for the time) dancing and jazz music.

Stay a night or three and fully immerse yourself in the era.

Go to roaring20s.com.au for more information about the Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz.

Go to visitbluemountains.com.au for accommodation, dining and activity options.

The Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge is a great activity for the whole family. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge is a great activity for the whole family. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

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Back to Hartley promises to be a fun family affair. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Back to Hartley promises to be a fun family affair. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By National Parks & Wildlife Service

The popular Back to Hartley Day, which attracted a huge crowd to the historic village near Lithgow two years ago will be held for the third time on Sunday, October 26, and feature a jam packed day of events, exhibitions and local tastings.

NPWS Hartley Historic Site manager Steve Ring said the day would offer something for everyone.

Visit Talisman Gallery during Back to Hartley. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Visit Talisman Gallery during Back to Hartley. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

“Visitors can take a wander through the wonderful Talisman Gallery or view the work of local Aboriginal artists in the Kew-Y-Ahn Gallery, enjoy a coffee at the Old Post Office Cafe or take in the panorama of the village from its best vantage point at the Granite Tors.

“There will also be a large number of cultural and community groups exhibiting and explaining their programs to encourage greater community participation.’’

Back to Hartley will showcase a variety of arts, crafts and local produce as well as entertainment, vintage cars and a selection of fine foods and refreshments plus activities for the kids and entertainment from the Lithgow Folk Club, sheep shearing and an opportunity to try your hand at archery.

Explore a slice of colonial Australia at Back to Hartley. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Explore a slice of colonial Australia at Back to Hartley. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

This year there will also be the Cox family reunion and the unveiling of two new interpretive panels to commemorate the Great Western Road surveyed by George Evans and constructed by William Cox.

Set among pastures, orchards and 19th and 20th century cottage gardens, the Hartley Historic Site village’s lovely sandstone building preserve an important piece of history, the settlement of inland Australia.

The Back to Hartley event will be held by NPWS in partnership with Hartley Advisory Committee to raise awareness of the site’s significance and heritage as well as raise funds for local charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Back to Hartley will be held at Hartley Historic Site, Old Bathurst Rd, 13km south of Lithgow, from 9am to 4pm on Sunday, October 26. Details: (02) 6355 2117.

Refreshments and an array of activities will be part of the event. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Refreshments and an array of activities will be part of the event. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

 

Follow your feet. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Follow your feet. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By Ellen Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Saunter around spring gardens, tramp along a track, climb down a canyon and stroll along the street. Whatever walk you choose this Festival of Walking, let your feet guide your way.

The “no brainer’’ festival which showcases the magnificent Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and the walking activities within it continues through the school holidays and until October 19.

BMLOT chairman Daniel Myles. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

BMLOT chairman Daniel Myles. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

BMLOT chairman Daniel Myles said: “The Festival of Walking is a fantastic opportunity to experience the whole gamut of walking activities we have in this world-famous region, from easy street strolls, garden ambles and brisk walks through to hardcore treks into remote areas.

“Activities are held throughout the week, so why not beat the crowds, take a gulp of our fresh air and book a bed for a short break mid-week.’’

The Festival of Walking continues throughout the school holidays and until October 19. Visitors and locals can choose from an extensive list at festivalofwalking.com.au including:

Valley of the Waters Walk and Grand Canyon walks with Tread Lightly Eco Tours (September 26, 27 and 28): Experience spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforests, remote wilderness, eucalyptus forest, deep gorges and canyons, towering sandstone escarpments 300m high and valleys 800m deep. Cost: from $135 with a picnic lunch. Exclusive and tailors tours available. Bookings: 0414 976 752 or ecotours@treadlightly.com.au.

National Parks Discover Wild Waratahs Walks with Mount Tomah Foundation Friends, September 27: Search for the NSW floral emblem in the wild along Pierce’s Pass with a Discovery Ranger, learn about the national park and see how waratahs are responding after the 2013 fires. Cost: $15 adults, $7.50 children (6-16 years). Bookings: (02) 9231 8182 or Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.

Wild Waratahs Walk. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Wild Waratahs Walk. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The Fairmont Walk with Life’s An Adventure in association with Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, Saturdays until October 19: Discover cool fern-filled gullies, pockets of rainforests and a series of lookouts with uninterrupted views of the Jamison Valley on this family adventure. Uncover habitats and the secrets of plants and animals. Stay overnight at the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains (bookings: (02) 4785 0000). Cost: $50 adults, $30 children (8-16 years) walk only includes morning tea, guide and transfers to and from Fairmont Resort. Bookings:  Bookings (02) 9975 4553 or Life’s An Adventure.

A Hike in History with Blue Mountains Guides, every Friday until October 17: Descend through a steep gorge of temperate rainforest, traverse along Lindemans Pass, see beautiful views of Mt Solitary and the Jamison (Kedumba) Valley and climb close enough to waterfalls to freshen your face. Cost: $180. Bookings: Blue Mountains Guides.

The Dunphy Kowmung Walk will be a highlight of the Festival of Walking. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The Dunphy Kowmung Walk will be a highlight of the Festival of Walking. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Dunphy’s Kowmung Adventure Walk with the Colong Foundation for Wilderness. Features a range of short walks, overnight camps, campfires, celebrations and wilderness adventures. Take part as a walker or camp and celebrate around a campfire. Details: Colong Foundation.

Ruined Castle – A Fairy Tale or Basalt Castle? with Life’s An Adventure, September 28, October 1 and 9: Ride the Scenic Railway, hike to Ruined Castle, traverse the Jamison Valley and climb Ruined Castle to take in 360 degree views. Cost:  $225 adults, $165 children includes lunch ($249 adults, $165 children outside festival days). Bookings: (02) 9975 4553 or Life’s An Adventure.

Tomah Spur Wilderness Walk with Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, October 8: Learn about Blue Mountains plants and wildlife and the different environments on the conservation land. Travel through a carpet of ferns, moss-laden rocks and lush green rainforest with towering trees before emerging onto a rock outcrop with spectacular views of the Blue Mountains. Includes a talk on the Wollemi pine to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its discovery. Cost:  $95. Bookings: (02) 4567 3019 or email kristen.winder@rbgsyd.nsw.au.

Glow Worm Tunnel with Wilderness Adventures, October 2: See the famous glow worms which light the disused railway tunnel then follow the old railway and explore the history of the area. Marvel at pagoda rock formations and magnificent views into the Wolgan Valley. Cost: $250 (normally $350) includes meals and snacks. Bookings: (02) 4787 1119 or 0403 860 820 or email info@wildernessadventures.net.au.

Cox’s River Overnight Fishing & Bushwalking, Wilderness Adventures, October 4-6: Visit the lower reaches of the Cox’s River and help threatened native species by fishing for introduced carp. Cost:  $200 per person includes all meals and snacks (gear available). Bookings: (02) 4787 1119 or 0403 860 820 or email info@wildernessadventures.net.au.

Tigersnake Canyon, High n Wild, October 4 and 11: Walk through the Wollemi National Park to arrive at the beginning of the canyon, a slot in the ground barely 1m wide, through which you will abseil into the canyon. Practice your abseiling skills further before abseiling next to a spectacular waterfall. Marvel as the canyon opens into a rainforest gully before dropping into a dark chasm, sliding down between two canyon walls. Cost:  $199 includes lunch. Bookings:  (02) 4782 6224 or info@highandwild.com.au.

The Glow Worm Tunnel walk is a family activity. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The Glow Worm Tunnel walk is a family activity. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The Cox’s Road walks, the Hartley Valley community, various dates: Walk with informed local guides country traversed by explorers Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth in 1813, surveyor Evans in 1813-1814, road builder Cox in 1814-1815 and Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1815. Cost:  $65 (must be over 12 years of age) includes lunch and admission into A Moment in Time exhibition. Bookings:  0414 506 643 or hartleyprogress@gmail.com.

Deep Pass & River Caves Adventure, High n Wild, October 5 and 12: Explore two slot canyons in the Wollemi Wilderness. Begin with a bushwalk to the start of Deep Pass Canyon. Unusually, the trip travels upstream, climbing waterfalls and scrambling around deep pools before descending into the deep, dark, mysterious River Caves. Keep your eye out for rare blue yabbies. Cost:  $180 includes lunch. Bookings:  (02) 4782 6224 or info@highandwild.com.au.

Other upcoming walks include Katoomba Hidden & Forgotten Places, Lockley’s Pylon, Extreme Beer Walk, Woodford Academy Guided Walk to Mable Falls, Varuna Writer’s Ramble, Central West Wine with Nibbles, Leura Gardens Festival (October 5-12), Mayfield Garden walks (now open full-time, Oberon Historic Township and Kanangra Boyd Waterfall Walk.

Of course visitors and locals can go on self-guided walks at any time. The Greater Blue Mountains National Park contains more than 400 walking tracks (go to Blue Mountains National Park walks) and sites such as Hartley Historic Village are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Go to www.festivalofwalking.com.au for more information.

  • Wherever you walk, practice safe walking habits: plan ahead, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, carry plenty of water and food, register your walk at Springwood or Katoomba police station or the NPWS visitor centre at Blackheath where you can borrow for free a personal locator beacon and stay on the track.

    A range of guided walks such as this one with an NPWS Discovery Ranger are available. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

    A range of guided walks such as this one with an NPWS Discovery Ranger are available. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

 

V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes takes in the views before an abseil at Narrowneck with High and Wild. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes takes in the views before an abseil at Narrowneck with High and Wild. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By Ellen Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Heading to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 9 to 12? Break your trip with a pit stop in the Blue Mountains.

During a recent promotional visit to the area, Mt Panorama great Red Bull driver Craig Lowndes said he was a fan of the Blue Mountains, which was a great stopover or base for Bathurst race goers.

In fact, the five-time Bathurst 1000 champion and eight time Sandown winner and his family stayed at Blackheath Glen Tourist Park for several days on their way to the Bathurst 1000 last year.

Reigning Bathurst champion Pepsi Max Crew FPR’s Mark Winterbottom, who also attended the abseiling activity with Blue Mountains outdoor adventure business High n Wild, said: “It’s beautiful here. It’s crazy to go to Sydney, drive past this place and not stop because it is a wondrous place. I might come here for a few days before the stress of Bathurst.’’

Recharge at Leura Garage on your way to or from the Bathurst 1000. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Recharge at Leura Garage on your way to or from the Bathurst 1000. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism chairman Daniel Myles encouraged travellers to follow the race car drivers’ lead and stop in the region on their way to or from the Bathurst 1000.

“The thrill of racing down Mountain Straight or Conrod is absolutely matched by the adrenalin rush of hanging 300m above the valley floor on the end of an abseil rope.

“This region is also an ideal pit stop for petrol heads travelling to and from the races at Bathurst, so break your trip with a meal and a cuppa at, where else, but Leura Garage, the converted garage now funky cafe/restaurant.

“Gulp in our fresh mountain air, take an exhilarating walk along a clifftop track or cliff-hang on the Scenic Railway.

“Better still, stay a night or three and really recharge the batteries. Who can argue? Lowndsie said so!’’

The chequered flag will fall at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 9 to 12.

Go to visitbluemountains.com.au for more information about accommodation options, attractions and experiences in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region.

 

Scenic World joint managing directors David and Anthea Hammon were emcees at the 2014 BMLOT Awards of Excellence. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Scenic World joint managing directors David and Anthea Hammon were emcees at the 2014 BMLOT Awards of Excellence. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By Ellen Hill – Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The best of the best tourism and hospitality businesses in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region for 2014 were revealed at the annual Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) Awards of Excellence gala dinner and awards night on Friday (August 8).

The official regional tourism organisation’s awards recognise and promote product and service quality in the regional tourism and hospitality industry.

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham receives a Contribution to the Blue Mountains Bicentenary award from former BMLOT chairman Randall Walker. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham receives a Contribution to the Blue Mountains Bicentenary award from former BMLOT chairman Randall Walker. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The black tie event traditionally attracts a glittering array of regional and state industry personalities and stakeholders including Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill, Oberon Mayor John McMahon and Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham, Oberon Council general manager Alan Cairney, Blue Mountains State MP Roza Sage and Macquarie Federal MP Louise Markus.

BMLOT chairman Daniel Myles congratulated all finalists and said he was determined to return the nation’s first tourist destination to its Number One tourism position after the October 2013 bushfires although he praised the resilience of the tourism industry.

Recently completed sections of the Great Western Hwy through the Blue Mountains was already making it easier for tourists to visit the region and more experiences, events and attractions would also tempt visitors, he said.

A strong theme of the award winner speeches was team work, with most thanking their colleagues and staff for a collective achievement.

The gala dinner and awards ceremony was held at Scenic World at Katoomba. Scenic World joint managing directors David and Anthea Hammon were emcees and entertainment was provided by Waradah Aboriginal Dancers and the Steve Morrison Jazz Band.

The BMLOT regional tourism awards feed into the NSW Tourism Awards and the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.

Through the support of Tourism Industry Council NSW and the generosity of sponsors, BMLOT members entered the regional awards for free. All entrants also had the opportunity to attend free submission workshops and category winners will receive free mentoring before the NSW Tourism Awards later in the year.

Jenolan Caravan Park owners Bob and Sally Parrington took out the Tourist & Caravan Parks award. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Jenolan Caravan Park owners Bob and Sally Parrington took out the Tourist & Caravan Parks award. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Award winners were:

  1. Specialised Tourism Services: Sponsor: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism GOLD: Ask Roz
  2. Regional Tourism Ambassador Sponsor: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism WINNER: Kellie Barrow, Lithgow City Council
  3. Tourism Education & Training Sponsor: Scenic World GOLD: Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School
  4. Tour Operators Sponsor: Scenic World GOLD: Life’s An Adventure
  5. Luxury Accommodation category winner Lorraine Allanson (Mountain Whispers). Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

    Luxury Accommodation category winner Lorraine Allanson (Mountain Whispers). Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

    Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Sponsor: National Parks & Wildlife Service GOLD: Wild Valley Art Park

  6. Apprentice of the Year Sponsor: TAFE Western Sydney Institute WINNER: Thomas Ferguson, Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains
  7. Young Customer Service Employee of the Year Sponsor: Scenic World WINNER: Meagan Iervasi, Lilianfels Resort & Spa
  8. Customer Service Employee of the Year Sponsor: Scenic World WINNER: Jessica Fisher, Lilianfels Resort & Spa
  9. Visitor Information & Services Sponsor: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism GOLD: Oberon Visitor Information Centre
  10. Contribution to the Blue Mountains Bicentenary Sponsor: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham Joan Kent, A Moment in Time Wendy Hawkes, Lithgow City Council Blue Mountains Crossing Bicentenary Committee
  11. Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services Sponsor: Oberon Council GOLD: Leura Garage
  12. Deluxe Accommodation Sponsor: Oberon Plateau Tourism Association GOLD: Mountain Heritage Hotel & Spa Retreat
  13. Festivals & Events Sponsor: Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise GOLD: Sculpture at Scenic World
  14. Adventure Tourism Sponsor: Lithgow City Council GOLD: Life’s An Adventure
  15. Tourist & Caravan Parks Sponsor: Lithgow City Council GOLD: Jenolan Caravan Park
  16. Major Tourist Attractions Sponsor: Blue Mountains City Council GOLD: Blue Mountains National Park
  17. Tourist Attractions Sponsor: Blue Mountains City Council GOLD: Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah
  18. Business Tourism Sponsor: Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School GOLD: Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains
  19. Local Government Award for Tourism Sponsor: Tourism Industry, a division of the NSW Business Chamber GOLD: Oberon Council
  20. Young Employee of the Year Sponsor: Scenic World WINNER: Roxanne Campbell, Lilianfels Resort & Spa
  21. Employee of the Year Sponsor: Scenic World WINNER: Daryl Walker, Lilianfels Resort & Spa
  22. Luxury Accommodation Sponsor: Jenolan Caves GOLD: Mountain Whispers
  23. Tourism Business of the Year finalists, Blue Mountains Business Awards Sponsor: Biznet, the Blue Mountains Regional Business Chamber Blue Mountains FINALISTS: International Hotel Management School, Blue Mountains National Park, Life’s An Adventure, Mountain Whispers, Scenic World
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge experience the spectacular World Heritage Area view from Echo Point Lookout with official escorts (l) Scenic World joint managing director Anthea Hammon and (r) Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism CEO Randall Walker. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge experience the spectacular World Heritage Area view from Echo Point Lookout with official escorts (l) Scenic World joint managing director Anthea Hammon and (r) Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism CEO Randall Walker. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

 

By Ellen Hill – Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region’s long-held position as a top tourist destination was given a Royal nod of approval by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently.

The Royal couple took in the fresh air and magnificent outlook at Echo Point overlooking the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley on April 17.

Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) chairman Daniel Myles said: “BMLOT was delighted to have been instrumental in the Royal couple’s visit to the upper Blue Mountains.

“The Duke and Duchess were absolutely and genuinely wowed by our grand backyard. Their visit has been a priceless opportunity for us to showcase our natural treasure to the entire world through the world’s media during Their Royal Highness’ visit.’’

Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said images of the Royal couple at locations such as the Three Sisters were “tourism gold’’ which led to incalculable international exposure and inspired holidaymakers from around the world to book a trip there.

However, the presence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a globally recognised Blue Mountains tourist attraction gave the regional tourism industry a much needed boost after challenging times, Mr Myles said.

“The Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region is most definitely back on track and open for business – the Duke and Duchess posing for photos in front of a large tract of our unscathed, glorious, sweeping World Heritage Area provided the world with all the proof it needed,’’ Mr Myles said.

With its majestic vistas, sheer canyons, vast wilderness and temperate climate, the region has become a haven for nature-based recreational pursuits such as bushwalking, abseiling and canyoning, Segways, fishing and garden tours at cool climate properties such as Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, and Mayfield Garden at Oberon.

A canyon to Juggler Canyon is one nature-based experience visitors can take part in with expert guides such as Blue Mountains Adventure Company. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

A canyon to Juggler Canyon is one nature-based experience visitors can take part in with expert guides such as Blue Mountains Adventure Company. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

“The calibre of nature-based expert guides is world-class here with the best outdoor adventure business in Australia, Life’s An Adventure which took out the gold award in that category at the 2013 Australian Tourism Awards, and the high profile Blue Mountains Adventure Company, Tread Lightly Eco Tours and High n Wild,’’ Mr Myles said.

The region boasts a host of accommodation options to suit every budget from grand hotels like the Carrington Hotel and Mountain Heritage Hotel at Katoomba and regal luxury such as Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa near Lithgow, Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa at Echo Point and the Fairmont Resort MGallery at Leura to myriad B&Bs and guesthouses and affordable motels and caravan parks.

The Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon food and wine focus has switched to more regional produce which compliment sustainable principals led by the Greater Blue Mountains Food and Wine Development Advisory Group and SlowFood Blue Mountains movement.

The result is food fit for a king sourced from local and regional suppliers, prepared by a growing stable of renowned chefs such as Lee Kwiez from Darley’s, Lilianfels Resorts’ hatted restaurant, Oliver Roberts (Vesta Restaurant, Blackheath), Damian Brabender (Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa) and Michael Bell (Fairmont Resort).

Chefs such as Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort head chef Damien Brabender are raising the profile of food and wine in the region.

Chefs such as Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort head chef Damien Brabender are raising the profile of food and wine in the region.

The region, which already attracts up to 4 million visitors a year according to National Parks & Wildlife Service figures and is home to the most visited natural attraction in regional Australia (Echo Point Lookout) and the steepest passenger train in the world at Scenic World, is also experiencing a multi-million dollar revival through an array of public and private tourism-related projects.

The re-opening of the Hydro Majestic is one of the most highly anticipated tourism projects in the region.

The re-opening of the Hydro Majestic is one of the most highly anticipated tourism projects in the region.

New products and tourism experiences include the highly anticipated revamp of the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath by The Escarpment Group which also owns Lilianfels Blue Mountains and Echoes Boutique Hotel at Katoomba. The Escarpment Group will also soon open the 4.5 star Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges at a 28 acre property at Blackheath.

The Fairmont Resort MGallery will soon boast a new day spa, building on its extensive $10 million revamp.

The Fairmont Resort MGallery will soon boast a new day spa, building on its extensive $10 million revamp.

The Fairmont Resort MGallery continues to build on its $10 million refurbishment with a new spa with 10 treatment rooms, relaxation rooms, individual room terraces with views over the golfing fairways, resort gym, foot spa and manicure area all inspired by the seasons and surrounding environment.

The Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region is also known for its year-round calendar of festivals and events which attract people to the destination who otherwise would not have come.

The BMLOT-supported region-wide Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz in February and the Festival of Walking in October have begun to gain traction among travellers who now anticipate and plan for them.

The inaugural Autumn Sustainable Food Festival featuring TomahROMA at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, and Leura Village Association’s Leura Harvest Festival earlier this month completed the seasonal festival calendar while Yulefest in winter is the region’s most established and famous festival within hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, restaurants and cafes.

Sculpture at Scenic World is one of the festivals and events adding another reason for tourists to visit the region. Photo: A Shot Above Photography

Sculpture at Scenic World is one of the festivals and events adding another reason for tourists to visit the region. Photo: A Shot Above Photography

Ironfest at Lithgow in April this year attracted 15,000 people, the Winter Magic Festival at Katoomba on June 21 traditionally lures more than 40,000 people celebrating the winter solstice, Carols in the Caves at Jenolan Caves in December is a traditional Christmas success and Sculpture at Scenic World (continues until May 18) is fast gaining notice in the art world.

Go to http://www.visitbluemountains.com.au for more information about activities, festivals and events, accommodation and dining options in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region.

 

The new Autumn Sustainable Food Festival will include two main events and several satellite ones. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The new Autumn Sustainable Food Festival will include two main events and several satellite ones. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By Ellen Hill – Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Immerse yourself in sustainable food, clothing and knowledge sharing at what is set to become the biggest and best such event in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region – the Autumn Sustainable Food Festival in May.

The Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) supported annual Autumn Sustainable Food Festival will include major events and a range of smaller activities, much like the established BMLOT-supported Festival of Walking in October and the Roaring 20s Festival in February. (Yulefest, held at various hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and restaurants throughout the Blue Mountains from June to August, completes the annual seasonal round of BMLOT-supported festivals.)

BMLOT chairman Daniel Myles said: “The subject of sustainability is a crucial one for our modern society, none more so than for those of us blessed to be living, working and playing in a precious World Heritage Area.

“The trick is to gather people together and get them thinking and talking about it and then motivated to do something about it. Food and wine has been a great recipe for social engagement for millennia. Likewise with the Autumn Sustainable Food Festival, physical nourishment will form the basis for change.’’

The popular TomahROMA event showcasing local and regional produce will be the launch event at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, on Saturday, May 3.

The new Leura Harvest Festival, an incentive of Leura Village Association and also showcasing local and regional produce,will be the finale event on Saturday, May 10.

Other satellite events will be held throughout the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region, and accommodation providers will offer special packages so visitors can fully immerse themselves in the festival.

TomahROMA autumn food and wine fair, which has attracted tens of thousands of people during the past decade, showcases local and regional produce and crafts set against the spectacular autumnal hues of the cool climate garden.

The fair will include local produce, gourmet delights, wine tasting, music, free guided walking tours and plant sales.

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden marketing manager Louise Clifton said: “By partnering with Leura Village Association and connecting these two major events to `bookend’ a week-long regional festival, we can link the northern and southern escarpments of the Blue Mountains: from the artisans and farmers of the Bells Line of Rd and the Megalong Valley to the winemakers of Mudgee and Orange.

She hoped the festival would “encourage more people to experience the wonderful array of food, wine and cider we have here and to stay longer to explore the region’s best kept secrets’’.

“We would like people to be wowed by the beautiful deciduous colours of autumn at the region’s many beautiful gardens and to be inspired to conserve our environment by living sustainably.’’

Dedicated to showcasing all facets of sustainable living including outstanding produce, fine fare and innovative initiatives in the Blue Mountains and wider region, Leura Village Association’s Leura Harvest Festival will be set among the cherry trees on Leura Mall, along with guest chefs and speakers discussing everything from food preserving to clean energy, permaculture, beekeeping and micro-farming.

Other highlights will include regional wine and beer tastings, a jam-making competition and a local chook show. Several of Leura’s beautiful private gardens will also be open to the public on the day of the festival.

Leura Village Association president Barry Jarrott said: “We are living in an age where we are very quickly losing natural resources, where food production is coming into question and we are relying more on multinational corporations for our survival.

“In reaction to these factors affecting our lives, Leura Harvest Festival will celebrate with a seasonal and cultural event that draws from a 100 mile radius food, recycling and repurposing, all coinciding with the beautiful autumn colour.

“The large and small events which make up the Autumn Sustainable Food Festival really tap into the international zeitgeist promoting sustainable living and I hope we can be a catalyst for change.’’

Go to http://leuravillage.com.au/fairsandfestivals/ for details about Leura Harvest Festival and http://www.mounttomahbotanicgarden.com.au/your-visit/whats-on/ for details about TomahROMA.

Go to https://bluemountainsconnect.com/ for accommodation packages.

The Autumn Sustainable Food Festival will celebrate sustainable food, clothing and knowledge sharing. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

The Autumn Sustainable Food Festival will celebrate sustainable food, clothing and knowledge sharing. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism